Thursday, 28 June 2012

A Night of Upsets

What a night of sport, two upsets one slightly larger than the other but both significant.  Why do these things happen at the same time or roughly, whilst having to flick between two channels trying not to miss anything.

The first saw Italy beat Germany 2-1 in the Euro Championships semi-final.  It was a close match, the Italians showed us all what a good team they are by dominating Germany to go two goals up. Perhaps it should not have been such a surprise since they have never lost to Germany in tournaments, with a record of 3 wins 4 draws, the wins being the important matches. It now seems obvious the draw with Spain was no fluke either and shows their ability, maybe that match will give them the confidence to go all the way. 

Italy showed their class and perhaps the game against England, some of England’s ineptitude was because the Italian team are far better than anyone imagined them to be. Balotelli’s goals were well taken and because Germany just attacked in the second half, Italy could have added a few more.  German’s over confidence reminded me of England teams of old.

Overall Italy seems a good team and definitely has a chance to beat Spain.

In the other upset, which was gargantuan in comparison, Rafa Nadal lost in the second round of Wimbledon to number 100, Lukas Rosol, in five sets.  What can only be described as one of the biggest upsets in tennis, Nadal came up against someone who played the perfect match. 

I suppose every journeyman sportsman hopes the day they play their greatest game; it will be against the greatest.  Well for Rosol his dreams have come true because there is no way anyone could play that style of tennis consistently and not be world number one.  He was hitting forehands and backhands at around 95-99 miles an hour, and literally blasted Nadal off the court. 

What makes it all the stranger is Rosol is not a young, up and coming player, he is 26 and this is his first ever Wimbledon.  The gods were definitely smiling on him tonight and I can imagine a few other players will be thinking the same.  Nadal could have easily lost in straight sets, yet still, if the match had started about 20 minutes earlier I would say he probably would have won the fifth set, without the need for a changeover from an outdoor court to an indoor one.  Nadal being a creature of habit I would imagine found this change hard to digest; he has to have everything so perfect the differences between Centre Court, in and out is significant.  Still Rosol had to take his chance and boy did he do that.

After a delay of around 30 minutes to acclimatise the court, when the roof is on the sound changes and unlike the Rod Lever arena in Australia, the difference is massive.  Nadal never got into his stride, broken in the first game; then Rosol played the set of his life hammering winners like he was the world number two.  Nadal had no answer apart from trying to slow the guy down.  This tactic did not work and eventually Rosol was serving for the match.  Normally even at a break down I would fancy Nadal to pull it out the bag, against an opponent 98 places below him, especially in a five set slam.  This time he never got a chance as Rosol thundered down ace after ace, unreturnable after unreturnable, then the final hammer blow and the biggest upset for an age in tennis occurred.

I know I said it would be nice to see something different happen this year, maybe a new star in the making, but this was a WOW moment, totally incredible.  At least five players will be ecstatic with the news and two in particular will be probably even happier.  Murray if he manages to get to the semis will be delighted knowing he won’t have to face Rafa again.  Federer must be jumping for joy knowing his nemesis is out and he now only has to beat one of the top two, to become world number one again.  Even now I am still staggered I never expected it to happen, not to Rafa Nadal.

The final note for Rosol, how does he manage to repeat this awesome form?  His next opponent is nowhere near the stature of the great Spaniard, can he continue this gun slinging style of tennis?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

No ordinary Wimbledon

When you look at this Wimbledon in years to come, it may end up being a defining point in the careers of three men, the big three; Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic.  All three have a chance if they win to become world number one, two have to win to become world number one, and finally one has to win to become the number one, of number ones.

Yes it all sounds confusing, but simply put there is a little more edge to this Wimbledon than normal.  Djokovic will want to cement his number one status and win his second Wimbledon, his sixth major.  He also wants to reinforce his control over Nadal who beat him in the recent French Open final.  Novak has the least to gain and lose out of the top three, if he performs at his usual high level he would expect to win Wimbledon, but this is no ordinary Wimbledon.

Nadal has plenty to gain and lose, he wants to continue his good form coming out of the French and show he can beat Djokovic on other surfaces apart from clay.  He can also make it to world number one but this is less likely as Novak would have to go out in the quarter-finals.  Nadal just wants to win the major, which would take him to twelve majors, it may get him back to world number one, or it definitely will in the near future.  Also in the back of Nadal’s mind is thought he may drop to world number three, he knows this championships is important to his career.

Finally Federer, he has the most to gain.  If Fed manages to win Wimbledon for the record equalling seventh time, he will become world number one.  He will break Sampras’s record of number of weeks at number one.  He will add to his impressive number of slam wins moving up to seventeen, increasing his lead over the rest. There are many significant milestones for Federer to reach this Wimbledon, in a career littered with milestones and records.  Yet the only significant one he doesn’t possess is within grasp for the first time in over two years, and this maybe the extra drive Fed needs to win.

I am not sure how often three of the greatest players clash in tennis or other sports for that matter, with so much riding on the outcome but it’s all happening at this Wimbledon.  Luckily Wimbledon always seems to live up to its hype.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Wimbledon - same old same old – winner

Here we are again, another Wimbledon, at this time it seems a pointless to discuss who will win the championships, since it will be the same names bandied around.  I love tennis and I love the fact we are blessed with some of the greatest players of our time playing some of the greatest tennis.  Still this plethora of excellence does not take away the issue that no one of any significance has risen to the challenge of trying to beat the tennis elite for quite a while now.

One of the things that make sport great is that sometimes out of nowhere there is a surprise, someone does the impossible or eventually figures out their game, gains confidence, reaches their potential and wins.  This does not look likely in men’s tennis.  Men’s tennis is a closed club and does not look like it will change anytime soon.  The only likely winners are the top four; in fact the only winners will be the top four, because for everyone else the change-up in their game would have to be so massive to be unprecedented.

Yes there are a few new style players, tall, strong, powerful serves that could challenge, but their inexperience and consistency still makes it unlikely.

It is a known fact for every tennis player outside the top four, and this is what basically kills their chances; for one of them to stand a chance of winning, they will likely have to beat at least two or three of the greatest players ever.  Even Andy Murray, who in any other era would have probably won at least a couple of slams by now, knows this, and carrying this massive weight on ones shoulders before you even play Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic, surely makes it virtually impossible to defeat them.  And definitely impossible to beat all three of them, only Del Potro would I give the slightest chance to, and his record on the Wimbledon grass is not great.

The top three or in reality two now have been so dominant and so consistent the chances of them losing early in the championships are incredibly low indeed.

So as always it will be a fight between the top three or four, with one of the next five or six who may spring a surprise and make the semis, but at the end of the day in two Sundays time only four men have a chance of being champions. 

England lose to Italy

In what can only be described as one of the worst performances I have ever seen from an England team, they lost on penalties after a ‘backs to the wall’ 120 minutes of goalless ineptitude.  To say England were embarrassingly bad, would be an understatement.  To try and play Italy at their own game, effectively trying to do an Italy to Italy was a poor tactic to consider against them.  England weren’t just bad they were awful and only the fact Italy don’t have an affective attack force stopped them from beating England by at least three goals. 

They did us a favour in reality, now we cannot be totally humiliated by the German’s in the semis, because with their potent attacking strengths they would have annihilated England.  Italy made us look at the level of Albania or the Faroe Islands.  Every England player looked inferior to their Italian counterparts, and our supposed great superstars failed England again.

There was no misfortune to hide England’s shame this time, as they played like scared rabbits unable to function as they stood terrified at the approaching Italian headlights.  How Italy never scored was incredible, they had so many more shots, passes and possession than England.  The commentator mentioned that England’s pass back to the Italian goal keeper after a dead ball was their best shot at goal all half.  Italy camped inside England’s half like an occupying army for all of the second half and extra time.  It is soul destroying to think that if we had played Spain or Germany playing like we did on Sunday, who knows how high the score would have been.

Luckily this time, the delusion of an England team that may spring a surprise and actually win the whole thing (what a ridiculous joke) only lasted a few days.  There was no expectation of this England team, than to try their best.  In the end even though it was a surprise we made it through to the quarterfinals, the way we went out, we way we just sat back and played without any true English/British spirit or fight is what makes this loss so embarrassing and disappointing.  

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The End of the World

When the world collapses,
And all is lost,
Revolution breaks out,
At a savage cost,
Banks are gone,
Governments destroyed,
Humanity dismantled,
We are left with a void,
Buildings burn,
Institution’s obliterated,
Catastrophic anarchy,
Is left in our wake,
Can we rebuild?
Can we survive?
Can we learn from our mistakes?
To once again thrive.

The German Financial Empire

As we near an imminent catastrophic financial meltdown in Europe, who will be the winner and losers, at this time the biggest winner looks likely to be Germany.  Whereas German armies swept through Europe in the Second World War, this time they will bailout the debt ridden nations of the Mediterranean; Greece, Italy, and Spain.  Taking control in all but name, in a new form of conquest, the financial conquest of Europe.

Whether this happens in the near future is still undecided, but it is evidently clear now that the fate of Europe and maybe the world will change significantly in the next few years.  Instead of sovereign states with governments, their own financial sectors, controlling their own wealth, we may see the new age super powers, financial Empires, controlling many nations through their power and wealth.

What happens to the debt ridden, collapsing nations after the power houses have taken all their wealth?  Will they become like the conquered nations of old and second class in their own country, or will they disappear into a limbo not to dissimilar to a third world country?

Maybe this is a pessimistic view of the state of the world, but at this moment there is nothing positive or optimistic for most of the world’s nations to look forward to.

Who will be left standing when it finally ends? One thing is for sure they will be the new super powers of the world.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Human nature and how to free it from the shackles of diabolical parenting to create a better, equal world

Parents are thought to be necessary for the continued growth of a child, and in the past it was a necessity.  Yet in this day and age it seems alarmingly clear that parents and their selfish interests, their inward concealed desires for the child can and generally does hold a child back from his/her true potential.  At the other end of the scale there are the parents who neglect and through civil abandonment of their offspring, leaving them with no clear understanding of right from wrong leading them down divisive paths.  They also instil traditions and untruths that can create hidden evil malcontent.  Very few parents have the experience or the knowledge to bring up their children to understand how to make a better world.  This instinctive desire brought down from the blood of their ancestors creates a warped world which in turn warps the child into similar thoughts.  As long as parents and the present schooling system are allowed to enslave children into a form of obedience and control, we will always be a fractured world; a world of greed, pestilence, war, and xenophobic hatred of peaceful change.

It is without question a problem that should have disappeared by now, yet it seems to be growing ever wider, we have not learned the lessons of the past; we have not gained any new knowledge on how to treat the world fairly, safely, without poverty, misery and above all equality.  We are the damned; we have been as a species, vile in cruelty and malice.  Yet we have the ability to change and a few shining lights show the way, but do they help or do they actually make the matter worse.

The easiest way to challenge the nationalistic order, the pride of a nation, and the wellbeing of the few over the many is to change how we live our adolescent lives.  The years when our brains are most malleable, and can easily learn the traditions and customs of others, as well as our own.  Children should spend most of their years between 8 -20 travelling the world being taught other languages other customs, and how other people live.  Similarly children from other countries should come to Britain to learn our ways.  This is a massive task, and one that surely at this time would seem impossible, but it seems to me that the only way to change the world we live in is for our children and our children’s children to all merge together to help create a better world.

The first thing to happen is to start small, from the ashes of the failed Euro and European Union, France and Germany the two strongest powers should ally with Britain, once the most hated enemies will need to change their xenophobia; which in itself is no small task (I use these three countries as a example since the bloodshed and carnage between them has been great.  It could apply equally to other countries around the world).  If it were possible then they would have to with great difficulty and definitely massive opposition, form an international government, and begin the exchange of children to learn each other’s differences.  Each child would learn all languages naturally from an early age they would learn the carnage and bloodshed of the centuries past. They would not here stories of war and conflict as some kind of hero worship, the barbarism of the past will be shown in its true light.  It will also show the true destroyer of peace and freedom, families, especially powerful families.  They will learn in keeping with their strengths, and through their strengths will hope to improve their weaknesses.  They will learn there are more ways to achieve goals and they will be shown that the equality of all is an achievable target.  Greed and the desire to care less for the misery of others will be vehemently opposed, and violence towards others banned.

Whether it is possible to change the instinctive ancestral and nationalistic urges so quickly is hard to say.  Maybe we are a long way off the equality, impartiality and treatment of all humans, everywhere in the world, no matter their race, religion or status.  For some will suggest that the family is the best thing about humanity, I say they are wrong, because for every good parent, fair parent, decent parent, there are many more who are not.

Friday, 15 June 2012


Who can save my shattered heart?
Smashed and broken the life has gone,
Years of deceit have left me empty,
Years of pain leave stains of blood,
Cold and lifeless, frozen solid,
Gone forever, nothing will return,
Yet in the blackness one faint hope lasts,
The tiniest glimmer,
Shining brightly in the darkness,
Maybe one day that flame will ignite,
And someone will melt this damaged heart.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Mid Life Crisis

What happens to you soul,
When you reach that day,
Life itself is passing away,
Your loves have failed,
Success has waned,
You’re all alone,
You feel tainted and stained,
Crisis after crisis,
Has left you broken,
Your shell is cracked,
You must be joking,
You wish and pray,
You could start again,
Maybe you wouldn’t,
Make the same mistakes,
Maybe if you tried a little harder,
Maybe if you’d ventured a little further,
Yet here you are empty and lost,
The price was high,
So was the cost,
Can it be true,
That luck can change,
Nightmares turn back to dreams,
Now wouldn’t that be strange.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Who wins the semis?

Unless Ferrer is truly inspired and somehow can put aside the fact he is facing the greatest clay court player ever, a guy who has beaten him 11 times in a row on the surface, then Nadal makes the final in three tough sets.  It will be straight sets but probably tough ones at least the first two.  Ferrer has had his chances against the world number two before, and Nadal just does what Nadal does, and finds a way to raise his level to beat him.  In a way it seems destiny that Nadal will make this final.

The other semi you may think is harder to pick, but I am not so sure.  Yes Federer can play awesome tennis and can beat Djokovic, but after saving four match points against Tsonga the Serbinator must be totally pumped and feel it is his destiny to win all four slams in a row.  I cannot believe I am saying this but I want Djokovic to win because I feel he is the only one left who may give Nadal a match in the final.  Fed would have no chance against Nadal in this form, if he couldn’t win in the past it would be a miracle if he won now especially the way he is playing.  Unfortunately unlike the stock exchange, elite tennis has become very predictable and shocks don’t happen too often, the most likely shock now would be if Nadal did not win the final and Djokovic did, and let’s be honest that is not a great shock as shocks go is it.  In fact it would not even be a shock.

So, Nadal v Djokovic in the final and Nadal wins in straight sets.  Or maybe if the gods are smiling on Djokovic he keeps it tight wins a set and Nadal remembers all those losses, and we see another classic five setter, which Djokovic wins.  I know it seems like I am hedging my bets here but Nadal in this form on clay is nearly impossible to beat, even if you are Djokovic.  Djokovic also has the baggage of going for something no one has done since 1969.  He will have had a few tough matches beforehand not just one but maybe three in a row.  Eventually this catches up on you, then again Djokovic may feel and probably does feel he can beat Nadal on any surface, especially now in the biggest matches.  Consider some of those shots he blasted against Tsonga when he was match point down, they cleaned the lines, in his mind it is just like the US Open again.

In the space of a paragraph I seem to have changed my mind half a dozen times, most of my head says Nadal will win, but a small part thinks it maybe Djokovic who makes history.  I am sure it will be fantastic to watch all the same.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

French Open Scheduling

Maybe this is stating the obvious but in this day and age men’s tennis is more popular than women’s tennis.  This being the case why do they show the two main event tennis matches at the French, at the same time.  Surely anyone who wants to increase TV revenue would put the two quarterfinals Tsonga v Djokovic first, then Federer v Del Potro second on one court and stick the women on the other main court.   Now I suppose in the world of grand slam tennis the event itself is more important than TV, but TV now basically pays for these tournaments and it’s never been good practice to put the two best shows on simultaneously.

If anyone prefers to watch a woman’s quarterfinal match (god help them) over the men’s they can switch the channel.  I suppose the real the problem is not many would.  I would have liked to have seen both quarterfinals yesterday because I am a tennis fan and they were classic in places especially the Djokovic, Tsonga one, but I ended up flicking continuously between the two trying to watch both at the same time, it is ridiculous. 

I bet if the TV channels showing the French Open yesterday look at their figures they will show without a doubt very few watching to begin with, and then increasing when the men’s matches started.  I bet they also showed (if it is possible to show) fluctuations between the two matches as people flicked back and forth.

To show the interest in women’s tennis by most of the main newspapers all the headlines were about Fed and Djoks, and at the very end of most articles, the last couple of lines it said, oh and there were two women’s matches and such and such won.

I am really pleased Murrays match is not after Sreamanova’s this time, because watching bits of that dire 4th round match was difficult to bare.  I kept flicking over wondering if it would ever end; it was like standing in the freezing cold on a New Year’s Eve, waiting in a taxi queue, knowing you are going to be standing there a long time, whilst freezing rain is pouring down and the wind is blowing.  At least there was a good women's match on at the same time, between Shvedova and Na Li.  Shvedova played fantastic and it was an enjoyable game to watch, pity more women's games were like that one.